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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

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56                                    LIFE   OF
ever, be divided into classes; the firm conservators of
the past, and the reform-loving renovators, inviting
foreign influence to remodel the present, and build
the future.
The most important scientific undertaking which
Humboldt now had, was to ascend the 8ilia, a high
moLintain, whose sximmit none of the dwellers around
' had ever reached., wherefore, it was tlifiieult to iiml
guides. With the assistance of the governor, Hum-,,
boldt obtained some negroes as guiclca The excur-
sion, which was joined, for the sake of the novelty, by
about sixteen persons beside Humboldt and BoxiplatKt,
started on the 22nd January, 1800, on a day when,
on account of the low clouds, they coxdd calculate on
pure clear air. The road, which the guides expected
to make in about six hours, was a difficult one, but
the trouble was richly rewarded by the surprising
beauties of the scenery. It required as muclx courage
as perseverance; several of the company lost courage
on the way, and a young capucin friar, who was also
professor of mathematics, and had shown much bold-
ness at first, remained behind, on a plantation, half-
way up, and watched the ascent of Humboldt and
his more persevering companions, through a telescope.
They found, at a height of 6,000 feet, Saranas (pas-
ture grounds) covered with brambles and little yellow
lily-like flowers; they hoped in vain to find a wild
rose, not one of whose Varied species Humboldt lias
found in South America, except the Montezuma rose,
which grows on the mountains of Mexico in the 19th
degree of latitude.
Arrived at the summit, Humboldt and his friend had
a similar treat to that enjoyed seven months before
on the peak of Teneriffe. The material pleasure of a
surprisingly beautiful prospect into a new country,
was joined to a mental activity of scientific research,
and a better comprehension of the relation of the
single part to the whole. From the summit of the
mountain he gazed on a landscape where nature
alone ruled without being influenced by men, or